Buzz box project

Let's build buzz boxes, drone synths, noise machines, whatever you want to call them.

I've ordered a bunch of components I think will be useful for building such devices, mostly gleaned from schematics and projects I've found online.
The two main sources of sound I can make with these are Reverse Avalanche Mode (RAM) Oscillators and 555 Oscillators.
For shaping, we can build simple RC filters or the legendary MS20 filter
And for modulation, we're going to build a bunch of vactrols (LED strapped to a photodiode), although we might need to use some OpAmps to boost the voltage sent to the LEDs if we're running them off of the RAM oscillators.

Future plans

  1. Learn to build gear so that I can pivot my career
  2. Prepare the Drone Day workshop at Feral Vector
  3. Make a drone album entirely from hand-built DIY junk
  4. Get rich / Die trying


As mentioned, I ordered a bunch of junk: Mouser order for Buzz Box 0.0
This was my shopping list before diving in:


  • 1N4148


  • 1uf electrolytic
  • Other electrolytics up to 470uf
  • 470nf
  • 4.7nf
  • 100nf
  • 1nf


  • SS9018 (Best transistor for reverse avalanche oscillation)
  • 2N3904
  • BC558 or BC559


  • 100K
  • 10K
  • 4.7K


  • 470K
  • 100K
  • 10K
  • 22K
  • 4.7K
  • 1.8k
  • 220


  • CA3080 (Needed for original MS20 filter, couldn't find on mouser, will look elsewhere)
  • TL074
  • LM13700

Other stuff

  • Jack sockets
  • 555
  • A bunch of 4000-series chips
  • DAC chips
  • Stripboard
  • LEDs (like really bright ones)
  • Photoresistors (Needed for vactrols, couldn't find on mouser, replaced with photodiodes and phototransistors)

Updated August 26th, 2020